NORFOLK, Va. – On October 15, 2021 at 10:00 A.M., the MacArthur Memorial in downtown Norfolk will open a new free special exhibit entitled: Command Presence: MacArthur, Media & Mass Appeal. This new exhibit will explore General Douglas MacArthur’s relationship with the press and the role mass media plays in the creation of heroes and villains, and the framing of major events.
With his aviator’s leather jacket, field marshal’s cap, Ray Ban sunglasses and corn cob pipe, General Douglas MacArthur was one of the most recognized figures of World War II. This was by design. The son of a war hero who was alternately idolized and villainized by the press, MacArthur understood from an early age the power of mass media and was quick to master new forms of media. Command Presence will trace how this talent was used successfully and unsuccessfully in domestic crises and over the course of three major international conflicts.
Through photographs, paintings, artifacts, ephemera and other material culture, Command Presence will also delve into MacArthur’s evolution as a pop-culture figure and his continued international resonance. Love him or hate him, your perception of him has been shaped by mass media.